As a horse owner, sometimes it is a must to walk our horses on roads in order for them to get exercise or to take them to a new area. However, do you really know the road rules when it comes to riders and what you must follow when on horseback? Petplan will take you through what you are expected of when horseback riding on the roads…
As a rider, not only are their rules to keep you from causing an accident, there are also a bunch of safety rules that you should follow in order to keep you and your horse out of harm’s way. Some of these road rules are:
- Always wear a safety hat and brightly coloured clothing to increase your visibility
- Ride your horse on the left-hand side as far over as possible
- Keep your horse on the side of the road whenever you can
- Don’t ride on footpaths, lawns, or gardens
- Do not ride more than two abreast
- If you’re leading another animal, always keep them on the left-hand side away from traffic
- If you’re riding in darker weather, be sure to wear reflective clothing and carry a torch
Safety on the roads is all about minimising risk and recognising potential hazards. To reduce these risks you need to control as many elements of the ride as possible; wearing appropriate clothing; choosing your route and timing of the ride, and allowing extra time for inexperienced riders.
Sharing the Road with Riders
If you happen to come across someone riding their horse along the road, be sure to follow the following steps in order to not stir up the horse or cause a fright:
- Slow down immediately when seeing the horse and carefully pass – giving the rider plenty of room
- Do not create unnecessarily loud noises (revving engine or honking horn) as this will frighten the horse and could cause an accident
- If you are behind them on a narrow road or bridge, slow right down or stop completely and only overtake when it is safe to do so
- If the horse appears to be frightened, stop immediately
- Dim your headlights when passing a horse at night
By following the simple steps above we will be able to make our roads a lot safer and reduce the chance of an accident. Being knowledgeable about the do’s and don’ts of horseback riding on roads is the first step, actually implementing these steps and teaching others will go a long way to creating a safe environment for all road users.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petplan.